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Special workers' comp fund insolvent

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – A state fund used to pay already injured workers who suffer additional injuries on the job is insolvent.

An audit conducted by the state finds the so-called Second Injury Fund has been impacted by changes made two years ago to worker compensation laws.

State Auditor Susan Montee says because of that, the state is now paying on a backlog of cases that existed before the changes took effect.

She says a short-term fix is in order:

"Our recommendations are that the General Assembly immediately take some steps to rectify the shortfall," Montee said. "And when we say 'take steps to rectify the shortfall,' we do want to stress that this does not mean cutting additional benefits or expenditures."

The audit also claims a State Supreme Court decision added to the shortfall.

It ruled back in January that if a worker dies, second injury payments can continue to his or her survivors.

Montee says, though, the financial impact from the ruling is minimal.